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Skogen Brun : ett nedslag i västsvensk skogshistoria

SLU/Dept. of Forest Vegetation Ecology
Publication Date
  • Skogshistoria
  • Kronoallmänning
  • Sockenallmänning
  • Västergötland
  • Agricultural Science


After the last is age there was a long period when there was no shortage of forest for peoples needs. People living in Sweden could use the forest resources at their will. Around 4000 years BC the inhabitants of southern Sweden started to use the agricultural system and people become more stationary. The farms were located together in groups and together they formed a social association, the village. Successively the population grew and in some areas the forest started to become a finite resource. Borders around villages and their forests and specific rules what was allowed to do or not to do within the forest were created. When exactly such rules and borders emerged nobody knows today, but from the time of the oldest written documents, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it is clear there was already well developed laws about how to use the forest resources. The aim of this study was to give an overall view of the ownership of the forest in Sweden from the Middle Ages to the end of 1800 with a special focus on forest commons and the forest common "Brun" in southwestern Sweden in particular. The forests could from the time of the Middle Ages, be divided or undivided. If the forest was divided it could be owned by the king, the nobility or the state. People that wanted to use these forests had to pay tax to the owner. The undivided forest could be state common forest, village common forest or common forest. The state common forest was governed by the king and was used primarily as a hunting area. The village common land was controlled by the village habitants themselves and as long as they agreed, everything was ok but if they disagree it could en up with a divided forest. The common forest could not be divided. From the middle of the seventeenth century the historical documents specify three types of commons: parish common land, district common land and landscape common land. In this study I have also analysed a specific forest, a forest common called "Brun" situated in southwest of Sweden in the county Västergötland. The forest common Brun has mentioned in historic documents for at least 800 years. The reason it didn't become agriculture land is probably due to the topography. The forest is located on a ridge with some talus and the soil is not so nutrient rich. During the 300 years of my study, 1600-1900, the form of ownership of the forest common Brun has changed from a collective ownership during the 1600 to an individual ownership in the 1800 and in between, during the 1700 there was a period of state ownership. The forest was used for many purposes during this period, for example pasturage, firewood, shifting cultivation and new settlements.

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